Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I just got home late last night after wrestling one of the most satisfying, and arguably greatest, matches of my life in Stockholm, Sweden this past Saturday night.  Man, oh man… what a match it was!

Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship belt

It’s funny to think, that here at age 44, I am still pulling rabbits out of the proverbial hat, proving that age is just a number and wine really does get better with age.  After all, I’ve lived, breathed, bled and sweat this business we call professional wrestling for damn near a quarter-century already.  A tiger cannot change its stripes and experience just makes you wiser and more cunningly dangerous as the years accumulate.

July 8, 2017 will go down in the annals of professional wrestling history as one of the most significant events in Nordic grappling lore.  It was the night that I stepped into the ring as the interim – and first – Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion, to face the challenge of a young man nearly half my age, the current STHLM Wrestling Champion, “Kid Fury” Timmy Force.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 2

I remember holding a training camp back in 2014 in Langå, Denmark, attended by over 20 wrestling students from four different countries, and young Timmy Force was one of those students at that time.  He had limited experience, being a raw rookie in our industry, and he wanted to get better and up his personal ante.  I was amazed back then at the natural ability of this kid.  He took to everything like a fish to water, and it would have been easy to believe that he had been wrestling already for at least a year, simply gauging by the skill level that he exhibited even early on then.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 3

At the end of the training camp in Langå that summer, the DPW (Danish Pro Wrestling) office that hosted the camp, decided to hold a student show on the final day, to give the boys a chance to prove their wares in front of a VIP/invitation-only audience.  Timmy faced another fellow Swede, who has since come to be known as J.O. Hansen on the Swedish wrestling circuit.  They had one hell of a capable and credible wrestling match on that student show, proving to me, as their coach, that both guys were on the track to pro wrestling stardom, if only they could keep their heads level and their bodies healthy.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 1

Timmy Force has risen like a phoenix in the Swedish wrestling scene.  He has garnered high-profile victories over the likes of even New Japan Pro Wrestling star Juice Robinson in the past couple of years, and has gone the distance with much more experienced foes like Matt Sydal (Evan Bourne in WWE).  In short, my prediction back in 2014, that Timmy would become a star in this business, became a prophesy come true.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 4

Alas, come July 8, 2017, it is only fitting that Timmy Force would have to face the greatest challenge of his young career.  It was the day that he would have to step into the ring with his former coach, “The Rebel” StarBuck, in front of a red-hot, rabid Stockholm homefront crowd, that wanted so desperately to see Timmy take the ultimate prize, the Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 5

And so it was, that for a good half-hour, Timmy Force fought, kicked, scratched and clawed at the elusive golden ring, in his spirited attempt to wrestle it away from it’s momentary proprietor, me.

Timmy did everything he could, fought valiantly, showed fire, hit his moves with crisp precision… everything in his power… to claim the ultimate prize waiting at the end of it all.

But it was not to be.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 6

When all was said and done, Timmy Force was bloody, battered and beaten, in front of a hometown crowd that was on the verge of a frenzy.

StarBuck’s infamous finisher, the jumping spike piledriver, once again took this old boy to the bank.  It was the move that cemented me in wrestling lore for all time as the first UNDISPUTED Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion!

Now, let the challengers line up.  Let them come, one by one.  Let them try to wrest this golden grail or Nordic supremacy away from the old lion!  Let them all come, and let them all fall… and bow… to the KING.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 7

(Photos: Fredrik Streiffert)

Advertisements

Big news!  As the newly appointed interim Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion, my first title defense has now been set for July 8 in Stockholm, Sweden!

I will be defending the new belt against the challenge of fast-rising young Swedish star, Timmy “Kid Fury” Force.

TIMMY-FORCE

I recall back a few years ago in Denmark, when I was coaching the DPW Fake or Break summer camp in 2014, young Timmy was a part of the student body on hand.  I noted his skill and natural aptitude even back then, believing that one day, he would be a star.

Alas, come 2017, Timmy Force has risen to the upper tier of Swedish pro wrestling, even recently holing a couple of different Swedish championship titles as recently as this year.  The host promotion of the inaugural Nordic Championship title showdown, STHLM Wrestling, gave Swedish fans the chance to vote for which Swedish wrestler they would like to see challenge for my newly assigned Valhalla Nordic title, and Timmy came out on top in the public fan voting.

Now, on July 8, at Arenavägen 75 in Stockholm, Timmy Force faces the toughest opponent of his young life.  He faces Yours Truly, the champion himself, the most successful professional wrestler in history in all of Nordic history, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

July 8 will be history in the making, folks.  Make plans to be there (tickets available HERE), as the best wrestlers from all around Scandinavia and the Nordics will be on hand, representing their home promotions and countries.

Nordic Wrestling Championship

Big news: I will be wrestling in Pakistan this month on May 17 in Karachi, May 19 in Lahore and May 21 in Islamabad.  These events will be televised and a tournament will be held during the tour to crown the very first Pakistan pro wrestling champion in history.

25 wrestlers have been hand-picked from all over the world to participate in this monumental moment in pro wrestling lore.  Ex-WWE star Chris Masters from the USA, former WWE Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett, Chris Raaber from Austria, Bernard Vandamme from Belgium, Fabio Ferrari from Italy, Tiny Iron from England, Baadshah Pehalwan Khan from Pakistan and many others will be taking place in this grand event.  I will be representing my home country of Canada on this tour of Pakistan.

BP Khan

Pakistan will mark my 21st country in pro wrestling since 1994 worldwide across four continents.  This should be very, very interesting…

StarBuck Pakistan

There comes a time in every man’s life, when he looks at what he has accomplished and accumulated to this point and what lies beyond, yet to pursue.  I found that when I hit the pivotal age of forty back in 2013, I took stock of my life at large and contemplated the brevity and breadth of it all.

guitar man 4

When you step back and take a look at your life from the outside, you can assess things at face value for what they are and what they have meant. (Photo: Hannu Eskelinen)

Forty is like a half-way marker.  It’s a brutal, unforgiving assessment of what is, for real.  It’s half-way to eighty, and eighty is an age that spells pretty much the end of one’s life here on Planet Earth.

I look back at the greatest, single influence on my pro wrestling career early on, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the 16-time world heavyweight champion in our grand game of professional wrestling.  I recall the year 1990, when Flair was wrestling against Lex Luger at a WCW (World Championship Wrestling) pay-per-view event called WrestleWar ’90, that it also happened to be on his birthday.  The announcers tried to sell it as if it was Flair’s 40th birthday, when in reality, it was his 41st.  Nonetheless, I remember this detail speaking to me in volume even back then.

Ric Flair

When I started my pro wrestling career, I always asked myself “What would the ‘Naitch do?”

My old friend Chris Jericho currently wrestles for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) as their US Champion, a belt that he will be defending against fellow Canadian grappler Kevin Owens next weekend on April 2nd at Wrestlemania 33.  Jericho is about three years my senior, now age 46.  He’s still doing well, hanging in there at the top of his game, arguably on one of his last runs with the company.  I applaud him.  He’s done very well, staying in shape and being able to connect with a changing audience and parlay his character across various generations of wrestling fans.  Yet, the end is drawing nigh, even for my old pal Y2J, simply based on age.

05

When I started my pro wrestling career in Calgary, Canada in 1994, they used to call me Jericho Jr.  Really, I didn’t mind.  Chris has done incredibly well in the business, and I’m happy for him.

Now, back to my original point: the things left to pursue in one’s chosen career or life path.  Tallinn, Estonia was such a waypoint for me personally this past weekend, the reason being that the event I took part in was a professional boxing card.

For the longest time, since the onset of my personal pro wrestling career, I’ve been fighting to defend the credibility of my fighting art, called professional wrestling.  There have always been detractors and shit-talkers and there always will be.  Still, I have always felt compelled to defend the honor of my business, which many see as a faux sport.  Like one of my early role models, Bret “Hitman” Hart, said in his autobiography some years back, “It seems as though I’ve been defending professional wrestling my entire life.”

Bret Hart vs Ric Flair

Bret Hart and Ric Flair slugging it out back in 1992 in the World Wrestling Federation.

For me, I’ve always prided myself on being legitimate when I step into the ring.  I take my sport seriously.  Regardless of how many people – some contemporaries included – have prostituted and bastardized our trade, for me, I’ve always strived to take the higher road of credibility.  I’ve gone the extra mile and fought tooth and nail to retain integrity in the believability of professional wrestling.  For me, it’s a matter of professional pride.

Being able to parlay my skills and take part in the Warrior Fight Series 1 event this past Saturday night in Tallinn, Estonia on March 25 was a true milestone for me.  It was history in the making.

Photo by Karli Saul 15

Photographer Karli Saul captures my ring entrance in Estonia in dazzling colors.

I was able to step into the ring in front of a virgin audience, engage them and win them over, making believers in the process, as I fought against a true athletic stud in Vladimir Kulakov of Russia.  This was an international match of epic proportions: the time-tested, world-traveled ring veteran against the younger Russian pro wrestling champion and a literal wolverine amongst his peers.  It was action and reaction, just as professional wrestling should be, in front of an audience that was there with an open mind, ready to make their initial assessment of the grappling game that is professional wrestling.  It was an ambitious endeavor to win over a new fan base and build where no one else had built or wandered before.

Photo by Martin Ahven (2)

Photographer Martin Ahven gets a good shot of the intensity of my match with Kulakov.

It is in this – venturing out into new, uncharted territories – that I take personal gratification in at this stage of my pro wrestling career.  I pioneered the business in Finland back in 2003 along with promoter Patrik Pesola, which launched an entire scene in the country.  My hallmark is set in stone as the most successful professional wrestler ever out of the Nordics and the northern sector of Europe.  My track record globally attests to that claim, and my championship reigns worldwide, along with my lengthy list of name opposition all around the world support that argument.  Now, I need a new mountain to climb.  A new challenge to contest.

Tallinn was the beginning of another chapter in my personal pro wrestling career.  I want to thank the promoter of EST Boxing, Mr. Grinkin, for having the faith to present pro wrestling on his card.  I want to also thank the Estonian media at large for covering the match to the degree that it has received media attention, which you can see e.g. from the link below:

http://sport.delfi.ee/news/voitlussport/poks/delfi-video-esmakordselt-eestis-ameerika-wrestlingu-sou-naerutas-tondiraba-publikut?id=77670846

Every one of us has the chance to build our own legacy in whatever our chosen endeavor is.  The true question is, how much heart do you really have to pursue your ambitions and goals, turning your dreams into a reality?

Life is short.  Make yours spectacular.

It’s been a good two-and-a-half years plus since I last wrestled in Germany, but that gets rectified tomorrow night in Wittorf, Deutschland!

dwa-harley-night-2016

It’s DWA (Deutsche Wrestling Allianz) Harley Night XVI – Double or Nothing!  Let’s see who ends up facing “The Rebel” tomorrow night…

Man, this one has been a long time in the coming… on Friday, Nov. 18, I will travel to Randers, Denmark to take on my old, storied Danish rival, Chaos, inside of a 16-foot high steel cage!

sb-vs-chaos

Chaos and I have an extensive past as adversaries, stemming back to 2009.  We have spilled each others blood, beaten each other black and blue and done a lot of damage to one another.  Both of us represent the veteran guard of our respective pro wrestling cultures in Denmark and Finland, making this a feud of Baltic and Nordic proportions.  We are literally the standard-bearers of our trade in our respective countries.  Two warring leader wolves, looking to out-do the other.

dsc_3546

In 2009, the Street Fight match Chaos and I had left both of us busted up.

Last summer in Denmark, the DPW (Danish Pro Wrestling) organization dropped my booked match against Chaos and instead, opted to put Ken Andersson of TNA fame (Mr. Kennedy in WWE) in my stead.  Then, they simply positioned me as a guest referee in that match, to add insult to injury.  Well, as you might expect, I took exception and laced into Chaos with a timely superkick at an opportune moment late in has match, leaving him a prone duck to be pinned by Anderson, as I counted to three.

Referee StarBuck

Annulling my match and putting me in there as a guest referee was not smart of DPW…

At Talvisota X (Winter War 10) in Helsinki, Finland this past March, I faced Chaos in a No-DQ grudge match, following the events in Randers last summer.  In Helsinki, Chaos beat me within in inch of my life, ambushing me from behind with a steel chair as I made my ring entrance.  I literally fought for my life inside of the ring that night, and managed to even walk away with a victory after delivering a devastating spike piledriver to my opponent.

TSX Chaos moonsault

Our last match was off the charts intense! (photo: Marko Simonen)

Now, on November 18, things come full-circle.  Chaos and I lock horns inside of an unforgiving steel cage on his turf in Denmark.  Both of us will fight like dogs, I am assured of that.  I know things will get violent and I am prepared to sweat, bleed and pay the price, to quote the legendary “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, so that I will be able to walk out of that cage with my hand raised in victory.

Chaos, you asked for the beating you are about to receive this coming Friday!

respekt

On the 28th of May, I returned to Russia, my 20th country in pro wrestling, to face “Big Sexy Papa” Ruslan in a No-DQ rematch from our February showdown for IWF this year in Moscow.  In our first bout against one another, Ruslan not only got beaten good and proper by Yours Truly, he also suffered a concussion during our match.

This time around, Ruslan had three months to get into shape and man-up, since he wanted some retribution on me, especially after I took his girl, Nadja, for a twirl after it was all said and done and he was left laying in defeat.

A week ago, I had Ruslan battered and bloody, administering a whooping to remember, when all of a sudden, his girl Nadja got up all panicked and whimpering on the ring apron.  I have to admit, that my concentration was thrown for a loop, because I had no idea what she had in mind.  I got up in her grill and had a few choice words with her when she suddenly slapped me out of the blue!  In my flustered response, I stumbled backward, allowing Ruslan to cradle my very sweaty body with a schoolboy pin for the surprise victory!

I simply couldn’t believe what had happened!  Ruslan was down for the count, all but left for dead, and suddenly a timely assist from his girlfriend saved his hide.  Well, you can bet your wrestling-loving arse, that I’m not going to let this one rest.  I have challenged “Big Sexy Papa” one more time, to a Hardcore match, if he has the balls to accept!

As we wait for the verdict, here is a stellar gallery of photos from our latest encounter…